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Old 22-06-2012, 08:31   #1
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SSB - Any Brand Preference

I'm currently in the market for an SSB radio. Can anyone draw a comparison between the ICOM 802 and the Furuno 1503EM?
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Old 22-06-2012, 10:33   #2
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

All my marine radios are ICOM, including the M-802. My M-802 has a separate Pactor Modem and an AT-140 antenna tunner. I use it regularly, both for Marine SSB and HAM,.

It has worked well the the last three years without problems.

The only thing I can contribute is that both units have similar features, but it appears the Furuno is $500 more (Retail). That is probably because it has a built in tuner...

Furuno is not known for building SSB/HAM radios, but does well in other marine electornics...

ICOM has been building radios for years in aviation, marine and civilian applications and ICOM pretty much only does radios or related items...

Based on their ICOM's reputation and dependability of my marine ICOM radios, I would buy ICOM again.
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Old 22-06-2012, 17:18   #3
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

I don't know anything about the Furuno model. All I can say about the Icom 802 is that every single one we have heard while out cruising has terrible transmission clipping problems. Icom was supposed to have fixed this issue years ago, but everyone we know 802's, even the ones with brand new radios have clipping so bad they can't communicate. In fact, I have yet to hear an 802 on the air that does not clip. It is so notorious now that when someone checks in on the net while clipping badly, that people automatically respond "you have an 802, don't you?".

I have heard rumors about 802's that do not clip, but have yet to run across one in real life.

We have an Icom 710 that is a workhorse with no problems. Other than the 802, I would say that Icom makes superb marine SSB's - probably better than most. Their VHF's have turned to crap and are a bad deal all around, and some other companies started eating their lunch in the Ham arena - although I think Icom is coming back stronger there now.

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Old 22-06-2012, 17:54   #4
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

colemj has no idea what he is talking about -- he is dealing in rumors and i heards-- we have an 802 as well as a lot of folks we cruise with and no one has had the clipping problem - there was a problem and icom corrected it --

just our opinion
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Old 22-06-2012, 17:56   #5
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Mark,

I share your dislike of the 802, because of the clipping issue and several other incredible design boo-boos. However, it must be said that the new ones don't have the problem, and Icom will correct the clipping problem on older ones if you send them the radio.

Because it's a real hassle to remove the 802 main unit and remote controller, lots of cruisers just don't bother. That is a BIG mistake because, as you say, the older rigs with clipping problems are very often unintelligible. IMHO, Icom should offer to defray the cost of removal, shipment both ways, and re-installation since it was their design problem to begin with, and one that a company as experienced as Icom should not have suffered in the first place.

The M710 and the M700Pro are excellent radios, both built like a tank. Icom has discontinued the M710RT with the remote control head, I assume because they want to channel folks towards the 802.

RE: the Furuno FS1503EM, I don't like it either. Had one here. Flimsy feeling little knobs, interface is awkward, and the repair cost if you ever need it is through the roof. Furuno wanted $1,500 to replace the board in the one I had! The radio is popular with fisherfolk in the Pacific Northwest, I hear, but I'd personally stay away from it. Unlike other Furuno gear which I very much like and use (radar, instruments, etc.).

There are other good used marine SSB radios out there as well. I have several, including Kenwoods, Icoms (600, 710RT), SEA (225, 322), etc. Depends what you want to do with it. If you want email capability, you're pretty much limited to the M802, M710, M710RT, Yaesu FT-600, and a few others. If you need the remote head AND email, you're stuck with the 802 or a used M710RT. And, heaven forbid, if you need email AND want HF/DSC, the 802 is the only game in town. Unless you're willing to give up an arm and a leg for one of the commercial rigs.

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Old 22-06-2012, 17:56   #6
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

saying the 802 is not a good radio is also like saying my gam electronics antenna does not work - it does and we have relayed for a lot of other boaters for both nets and chris parker from as far as panama -
and all who know us say our ssb booms and is one of the best around

just our opinion
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Old 22-06-2012, 17:59   #7
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Chuckr posted while I was composing.

Not so, my friend. There are many, many 802s with the clipping problem out there right now. I hear them on the maritime and ham nets almost every day.

Yes, Icom corrected the problem with NEW radios and, as I said above, offered to fix older ones if you send them back to their Bellevue WA service center.

Bill
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Old 22-06-2012, 18:13   #8
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

With the exception of the clipping problem, the Icom radios are generally the most robust and forgiving SSB brand around.

However, they have the most user-unfriendly interface around, which they have never improved. Take your average new user, tell him to switch to 14.200 mhz, and see how long it takes...its usually at least half an hour if they can find their manual and have advanced degrees.
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Old 22-06-2012, 19:39   #9
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Ever consider a HAM band radio. I had an older Kenwood that had been modified to talk on any frequency that I could receive on. My current Kenwood TS-50, which I haven't used in years, only need a few diodes (I think) cut out of the circuit. It's easier to cut wires than to add wires. Transmission and reception is great. Most cruisers that I have met use the HAM bands and not the designated "Marine" frequencies. HAM clubs offer many free services to cruisers.

Second hand HAM radios are cheap. 100 watts and you can talk around the world with just a whip antenna.
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Old 22-06-2012, 20:58   #10
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Thanks!
We've been around ICOM's on our last 3 or 4 boats. We sent an 802 back to Seattle with a problem and they wouldn't recognize the radio having a problem. We spent a lot of time shipping the radio to a lot of different locations before we could get it fixed. It was never conclusive what the problem was. It was a very reputable dealer. It seemed to be a complex issue that no one could identify. We had another issue with another 802 and Radio Holland (Curacao) said ICOM service center was very difficult to deal with. Having two experiences with radio technicians having problems with ICOM and an unsatisfactory experience with ICOM service, it dampens my enthusiasm for ICOM. But, at the same time, it's hard not to recognize their prominence.
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Old 22-06-2012, 21:18   #11
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Thank you for posting this thread. I know nothing about SSB or HAM, but I'm considering getting my license and taking the plunge.
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Old 23-06-2012, 05:04   #12
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Those of you talking about the Clipping Problem with ICOM M-802 are referring to a issue with the curcuit boards produced before June 2007. It did not hapen in every radio, but was an issue... Gordon West was a key player in getting ICOM to recognise the problem and fix it.

In June 2007 the ICOM corrected the cliping issue... All radios manufatured from that time forward do not have the problem.

The factory reported that the fix began with serial number 108290 and up.

If you don't like the unit, state it, but to state that the unit is bad because of a problem that was SOLVED 5 YEARS AGO is just slandering the product based on your own biases...


For everything you ever wanted to know about hte clipping issue mentioned here, go to the SSCA discussion forum at:
SSCA Forum • View topic - Icom M-802 "Clipping Issue" - Revisited....
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Old 23-06-2012, 06:08   #13
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Well, there are two boats in our anchorage right now with 802's less than a year old who are unintelligible due to clipping on transmission.

My first post specifically stated that Icom was supposed to have fixed this problem years ago. I don't think it is fixed. Or at least, there seems to be another issue with the radio resulting in clipped transmissions. Perhaps this model is very sensitive to power or installation design. The fact remains that there are very many of these units out here on boats that clip. That is a fact, because I dinghy over to them and talk to them on a daily basis when I hear them on the nets.

The SSCA thread is interesting in how many people report the exact same experiences with the 802 as I did in my post. They assume that all of these radios are older ones with the clipping problem, but have no evidence of age.

Nothing I have said has been rumors or heard second hand - I reported my direct experiences with boats I know. I do know what I'm talking about.

I am not slandering the product based on any personal bias, and stated that Icom in general makes the best marine SSB's.

Chuckr and Jeremiason: ad hominem attacks aren't very helpful or friendly. If you disagree with my personal observations, just say so and state your own facts. No reason to attack anyone because their experiences and observations are in conflict with yours.

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Old 23-06-2012, 07:06   #14
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

A vote for ICOM.

While I dont have experience with the 802 (sounds like many here do), ICOM is my brand for Ham/SSB equipment (marine or otherwise). Good quality and great service.
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Old 23-06-2012, 08:04   #15
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Re: SSB - any brand preference

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Well, there are two boats in our anchorage right now with 802's less than a year old who are unintelligible due to clipping on transmission.
Mark if you hearing two boats with cliping problems maybe you should be a good neighbor and suggest they read the SSCA article or the other 50 or so on the internet indicating there is a fix for the problem... espcially since they are in the same anchorage you are in...

You have offered no explaination of why your neighbors radios have a clipping problem other than they are ICOM M-802's and they are all bad.


Have you asked these boats in your anchorage:
  • Are these radios from the patch listed as defective or are they newer radios?
  • Have the owners attempted to get ICOM to fix them?
  • Are they properly using the radios and are they properly installed?
In the last 3.5 years, my ICOM M-802 has worked without probems... I have talked with HAMs around the world on my M-802 and have been a Net Controller for both the Sonrisa Net and the Baja Net n Mexico and a relay station for the Pacific Seafarers Net. I am constantly receiving comments on how well the unit transmits and the clarity of the signal.

My intention was not to hurt you feelings, but to make a statement like you did claiming that all the radios were bad, is my opinion is based on old information and a lack of understanding on your part...
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